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The Wine Guy: Tips for dealing with a gas crisis

Best of The Wine Guy

The Wine Guy
with Anthony Scarano

Gas is a huge problem these days, as always, but the gas I will discuss here is not the kind sold by the barrel and that fuels everything from automobiles to airliners to the tanks and supersonic jets used by our military.

The gas I am speaking of comes from the foods we eat and accumulates in our stomachs and digestive tracts. How much gas accumulates depends on what types of foods you eat, what combination of foods you eat and how much you eat. Foods that are difficult to digest such as meat, eggs and dairy products can lead to gas formation because these foods sit in the gut and rot; and, as we know, when organic matter rots it produces gas. Any foods not properly chewed will also form gas because they will not pass easily through the digestive tract. Beans, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and onions can also cause gas.

We know when this gas has accumulated when we feel uncomfortable and bloated, but there are many other symptoms caused by gas of which people are not so aware. Gas can accumulate to the point that it causes spasms in the chest and make a person think he or she is having a heart attack. This causes great fear and anxiety - which are themselves harmful to health - and may send people to the hospital for heart bypass operations they may not need.

Gas can also cause pains and discomfort in parts of the body you wouldn't think would be affected by something in your digestive tract. Any pre-existing pains in the body can be made worse by gas, and it can also contribute to headaches and pains in the shoulders, especially between the shoulders. Gas can also lead to poor circulation, which can lead to discomfort and pain, and arthritis and illnesses in general can be magnified by gas.

Chewing your food into a puree and eating foods that don't produce much gas, such as fresh fruits and lightly steamed vegetables, can help avoid too many of these pains and discomfort. If you can't live without meat, try to stick to small amounts of the ground varieties, and stay away from steaks, pizza and baked goods. These foods not only produce gas, but leave behind sludge that builds up on the intestine walls and can lead to constipation and illness. Sure, you can eat them in small amounts once in awhile, but you're diet must be full of fresh, whole foods so that this sludge can be "swept" out of the body.

Regardless of what you do, though, digestion will always produce some gas. When you feel the need to eliminate it, do so. Where is up to you, but don't let it accumulate in you for too long or you will suffer the unpleasant consequences. And don't use laxatives to help you empty your bowels, they are habit forming and upset the natural balance and muscular tone of the intestines.

Drinking wine with your meals will also help some because this wonderful food and medicine stimulates digestion. It will also aid you in many other ways including boosting your immune system, improving circulation and keeping your heart healthy. It is even good for the mind.

Drinking wine with your meals will also help some because this wonderful food and medicine stimulates digestion. It will also aid you in many other ways including boosting your immune system, improving circulation and keeping your heart healthy. It is even good for the mind.

Anthony Scarano is not a doctor. He is an 88-year-old Evergreen Park resident, winemaker and certified naturopath. Suggestions in this space are solely the opinions of Mr. Scarano based on years of independent study and personal experience, and may not be beneficial to health. Wine should be consumed in moderation, as overindulgence may be harmful to health.